Last weekend legendary skateboarder Steve Olson's "Inside Out" art show opened at the Hadid Gallery on the outskirts of Beverly Hills, Calif. featuring a blend of Hollywood and street that only Olson could produce.
If there is a "most interesting man" in skateboarding, it's Olson. As the first member of the test team for Independent Trucks, 1978's Skater of the Year, the person who introduced the checkerboard pattern to skateboarding (which has become synonymous with skate culture), an iconic style on and off his board -- Olson has never been not cool.
His style has transcended into his art and Olson's work is undeniably his own. On display this weekend were surfboards wrapped in leather, American flags composed of stapled strips of leather and collaged Marlboro Red cigarette boxes, leather-wrapped phrases from Olson's arsenal of witticisms and decomposing ancient spray-paint cans presented in glass cases -- all raised to the level of high art.
With a smirk, Olson says, "My art gives contemporary art a juvenile-delinquent phase. Its self-made style gleefully trashes conventions of beauty and society while pick-pocketing from the coolest underground styles and beliefs of the previous centuries."
Also on exhibit was a motorcycle from Powerplant Choppers founder and regular Olson collaborator Yaniv Evan. Collaborative pieces by Evan and Olson including bombs emblazoned with slogans were suspended from the ceiling of the gallery.
A surreal crowd of Olson's friends and family mingled with collectors, one of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and art fans decked out in Halloween costumes. Skateboarders including John Lucero, Pat Ngoho, Scott Oster, Joey Tershay, Dylan Rieder and Olson's son, skater Alex Olson, were on hand to check out the "Inside Out" collection. They even came through with a marker to fix the misspelling on the show's banner in the front window.
As usual, he was the coolest man in the room, putting the guy wearing an Elvis costume to shame; Olson's definitely the king. The show runs until Dec. 1. For more information, go to hadidgallery.com.